Hit-And-Run Money Manager Gets Off Easy

Martin Erzinger, a wealthy money manager at Morgan Stanley, struck and seriously injured a bicyclist with his Mercedes in Colorado last summer—and fled the scene. But Erzinger's getting off with a misdemeanor, because a felony could hurt his career.

Steven Milo, a doctor from NYC, was riding his bike last summer down a highway in Vail, Colorado when he was struck by Erzinger's black 2010 Mercedes. He suffered "spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain and damage to his knee and scapula," and faces many surgeries to help him recover and cover scars from the accident.

The Vail Daily reports that "Erzinger allegedly veered onto the side of the road and hit Milo from behind. Milo was thrown to the pavement, while Erzinger struck a culvert and kept driving, according to court documents." He drove on through the next town before stopping and calling Mercedes, asking for a tow truck because his car was damaged. When he was later arrested, he said he was "unaware" he'd hit anyone.

Hit-and-runs are horrible. But they're common. What's grabbing the entire nation's attention is what happened in court: the district attorney knocked the charges down to a misdemeanor, citing a desire to preserve Erzinger's career prospects as a wealth manager:

"Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession, and that entered into it," Hurlbert said. "When you're talking about restitution, you don't want to take away his ability to pay."

Milo himself has strenuously objected to this line of reasoning. And, as a man who manages $1 billion for Morgan Stanley, it seems likely that Erzinger would find some way to pay any damages. Although he has to pay those Mercedes repair bills, too, so.

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